Straight Talk About Birth

why natural birth

My first birth was in a hospital with a midwife, I’ve never birthed with an OB/GYN and I never will.  The first contraction hit at 7pm on April 19th, Nathan and I had just sat down to eat dinner and watch a movie (Blade – one of my favs!).  Having never experienced contractions before, I wasn’t entirely sure that it really was a contraction, so I didn’t say a word about it to Nathan and adopted a “wait and see” approach.  But then, exactly 1 hour later, another one occurred and then 45 minutes after that, at 8:45pm, another one happened.  Still, I didn’t say a word about it.

At that time, Nathan worked outside the home and had to be at work at 4am, so we often went to bed around 9pm.  After laying down, I initially fell asleep, but then was awoken around 10pm with another, and stronger, contraction which resulted in a sort of internal “popping” noise and an immediate wetness felt between my legs, I realized that my water had broke.  I got out of bed and went to the bathroom, took a shower and changed clothes…while in the shower I had 2 more contractions.

I came back into the bedroom, Nathan was awake, I said to him “My water broke and I’m pretty sure I’m in labor”  and he replied with a nod “Can I still sleep or should we get ready to go?”  “No”  was my answer “it’s still far to early to be going to the hospital.”  So, he went back to sleep and I went into the living room and watched some TV while pacing the room ’cause, even at that point, I already had dreadful back labor and the thought of sitting down was simply excruciating.  He was a posterior baby, meaning our spines were against each other in the way that he was positioned, and he remained that way for the whole 24 hour labor!

I labored in the living room, watching TV, reading while standing and pacing, even playing video games while standing and pacing and slowly, gradually my contractions got stronger and closer together.  Nathan got up at 3:30am, which was his normal waking time for work, and called out since it was quite obvious that we’d be having a baby some time that day.  After making us both some coffee, he went to his office to make some last minute preparations and I continued to labor in the living room with him checking on me every 15 minutes or so.  At that point, I remember, the contractions were occurring every 10 minutes and lasting about 30-45 seconds.  I felt mostly normal between contractions, but during contractions I would learn forward against the wall and sway my hips back and forth while focusing on deep breathing and relaxing my entire body so that the contraction could do the most work possible.

Because the uterus is a muscle it responds to stress and fear just like any other muscle, by tensing up and becoming rigid, this makes for more painful contractions that only work half as well at dilating the cervix.  The key to a smooth, uneventful, normal, non-medicated birth is to NOT be afraid.  Yes, it is powerful energy coursing through your body to open it up and allow safe passage of a baby, and that can be scary to some individuals, but, in reality, it is normal and good.  God made your body specifically to birth and to be able to withstand this powerful energy, it will not hurt you or break you, there is no reason to fear it.  Do not bunch up and tense up and internally “pull away” from contractions when they happen, instead receive them with joy and embrace them fully with open arms, internally relaxing INTO this energy and allowing it to move through your body unhindered so that it can do the most work possible.  The more work one contraction is allowed to accomplish, the fewer contractions your body need have overall to fully dilate the cervix.  Just relax and realize this:  You’re going to see your baby soon :)

Back to the story, at around 5:30am my contractions started coming every 5 minutes and lasting 45-60 seconds each, time to go to the hospital, which was only a short 10 minute drive away.  When we arrived at the hospital, the unfamiliar surroundings made my contractions stop almost immediately…I don’t even think they believed I was really in labor until the midwife did an internal check and discovered that I was a good 4 almost 5cm dilated.  After that disruption and the paperwork and the nurses doing their “thang”, poking, prodding, taking vitals etc. etc.  it took a FULL 2 HOURS before I finally felt comfortable enough that my contractions resumed and once they did resume they wanted readings on the contractions with this stoooopid belt wrapped around my belly and they made me sit down, I DID NOT WANT TO SIT DOWN, it hurt too much!  And that was the only “reading” they got as I adamantly and loudly, and in the process cursing their stoooopid machine to hell, refused to do it again! :lol: good times, good times  :lol:   …looking back now, I realize, that had I had a homebirth I probably would have already given birth at this point or at least been A LOT closer too it, rather that dealing with all the hospital CYA bullshit and the uncomfortable atmosphere of being scrutinized and watched…I’m the watched pot that never boils, their interFEARances did not help AT ALL.

Luckily though, the contractions did resume and with increased strength and severity…this is the point where everything sorta becomes a blur, at this point you’re living in what I call the “labor bubble”.  Anything and everything could happen around you, a nuclear bomb could go off and you wouldn’t give a shit ’cause you’re about to give birth dammit!  and that is the ONLY thing that is important to you, and until that baby comes out it is your whole world, everything else ceases to matter…this is normal and natural and good!  At this point, I was praying with every contraction, not that God make the pain stop but that he give me the strength and power of will to withstand the energy of birth and every single time, the very moment that I prayed, the contraction would instantly feel easier.  There was a really nice big deluxe shower in the bathroom of my hospital room and I spent a lot of my time hiding out in there with water as hot as I could stand it spraying onto my lower back where all the pressure was.

A lot of women, especially the control freaks, fight against this stage of labor and slow their birth tremendously in the process, giving into fear of being “out of control” they clench up tight and internally pull away from the contractions unwilling to go any further, but the more quickly and easily you allow yourself to enter into the “labor bubble” the faster you will see your new son or daughter.  It’s all about how willing you are to work with the energy of labor that plays a large part in determining how quickly labor will proceed…fortunately though, once the cervix dilates to a certain point that baby is coming out whether you want it to or not, better that you go along willingly rather than internally fight against it out of fear…all you’re doing is just making it unnecessarily painful for yourself!  At it’s very core this is really what birth is all about and, from a spiritual perspective, the main purpose of it is to teach us to give up control and give it over to a power that is infinitely higher and stronger than ourselves by which we are thus enabled to have a stronger and higher relationship with God, no longer fearful of letting him have complete control over our lives.  Of course, I learned all this the hard way :lol:

My first son was posterior for the whole labor and birth, he never turned.  Because of his less than ideal position his head wasn’t very well applied to the cervix, adequate pressure from the head pressing against the cervix is part of what causes labor contractions, but because of his position and combined with the fact that it was my first birth, I dilated very slowly and had to constantly stay on my feet so that gravity would force him downward and increase the pressure on my cervix and, hopefully, speed up dilation.  I don’t ever recommend sitting down in labor, especially in a first labor, for gravity helps tremendously in keeping things going.  Especially if you’re giving birth in a hospital where they wanna put you on a timetable and if things are not progressing according to their “schedule” they will want to augment labor with pitocin first, which will cause unnaturally painful contractions which will proceed to you wanting an epidural for the hideously unnatural pain and the epidural has great potential to slow down your labor, in which case they’ll wanna declare your labor “stalled” and do a cesarean section ’cause, after all, the good doctor does have that 4pm tee time to make!  :roll:   Don’t fall for this downward spiral of doom, stay on your feet, keep pacing, keep walking and to hell with the doctor’s tee time! :D

I don’t care what people say, the pushing stage of labor is infinitely harder than anyone bothers to mention to the first time mom.  I was completely unprepared!  I thought, at the time, that the labor was the hard part and that pushing the baby out was the easy part, it’s NOT…at least not when your baby is fully posterior and each push is like two steps forward and one step back.  I pushed for a full 2 hours before finally birthing my baby.  Plus, I was so tired that I just didn’t care anymore, I even took a nap while fully dilated.  Now, with the experience of six births under my belt, I know for sure that the pushing stage would have gone more quickly and been far easier had they not had me flat on my back and pushing with no contractions and without even feeling the urge to push…this is how the woman who is drugged up on an epidural pushes, for she could not feel the contraction or the urge to push even if she wanted to…but I was a natural labor, which most of the L&D nurses had very little experience with.  At the time I didn’t fully realize the horror of it all, but looking back now, the very fact that the idiotic L&D nurses had me on my back trying to push out a posterior baby is the absolute stooooopidest thing they could have done!  Squatting on a birthing stool or standing while semi-squatting with one leg up and supported on a piece of furniture would have been far better positions for pushing out a posterior baby, which are the positions I have used for all four of my homebirths…*sigh* live and learn right?

Successful pushing, like jumping into a fire, goes against all natural instinct.  As you push with each contraction, the longer and harder you push the more it will hurt, especially when the baby’s head is crowning, which burns like an em-effer and I am NOT over-exaggerating.  Using the “jumping into the fire” analogy you must resist the natural instinct to pull back from the pain and instead force yourself deeper and harder into it, the more efficiently you can do this the faster your baby will come out.  I know this from experience, I went from two hours of pushing with my first baby to just ten minutes of pushing with my sixth baby.  With this last birth I pushed so hard and so efficiently that I thought that my body might rip into two, but as quickly as it began it was all over and baby was out and in my arms :)

Once baby is out, it’s a very good idea to breastfeed them as soon as possible.  As long as the pregnancy was healthy and normal, and the labor and birth not drugged up, the baby will most likely arrive quite active and alert with a strong rooting and sucking reflex, this is the ideal time to latch baby onto the breast and let him/her have a first meal.  Stimulation of the nipples in this way will help the uterus to start clamping down and the placenta to separate from the wall of the uterus and be birthed more quickly.  I have breastfed ALL of my children, the shortest time being for only 8 months and the longest amount of time being 26 months, the breastfeeding relationship is actually my very most favorite part of the whole pregnancy cycle, it’s such a sweet and tender time of bonding and joy and love between mother and child that I would never give it up for anything in this world!  Plus it’s a lot easier than formula feeding, after all who wants the added work of washing bottles and mixing formula when they could be bonding with their baby while feeding them at the same time :)

Odds are, if it is your first time breastfeeding, you will probably get sore nipples and have issues of being uncomfortable as your milk comes in (I highly recommend investing in a few very supportive nursing bras) and, if you don’t breastfeed enough, you may have supply issues.  I have a motto “When in doubt, breastfeed!”  :D   I don’t care what anyone says, you can NEVER EVER breastfeed your baby too much.  In the early days it can seem like you might not have enough milk, and baby will suck and suck and suck, latch on and pull off, latch on and pull off repeatedly in an attempt to get something and then cry and get frustrated ’cause nothing comes out…please please please do not fret and give up and give formula, this reaction is completely normal and it is one of the ways by which your baby communicates to your body that it need to increase it’s milk supply.  Do not worry, baby is tiny, it’s stomach is about the size of it’s little fist, it does not require as much food as you might think and it will not starve to death.

I find, that the best thing to do is to carry baby around in someplace different, give baby a change of scenery…a different room with different lighting perhaps, babies are greatly interested in patterns of light/dark, black/white…for whatever reason they find the contrast intriguing.  If the weather is warm, and it often is as I’ve had four of my six children in the spring and summer times, I will take baby outside and show him/her around…show them plants in the garden and trees on the edges of the woods and the different livestock on our homestead and have their siblings or father talk to them and engage them, I do all that I can do to get baby’s mind off food for at least 20-30 minutes.  Then I come back inside, sit down, relax and try again, often within the 20-30 minute span the breast has already made enough extra milk for at least one let down, a snack to satiate baby till the milk more fully comes in.  Just keep breastfeeding, you can never do it too much and the more you do it, the more milk your body will make.

As a final word I just want to say that motherhood is first and foremost about sacrifice.  If we truly wanted to we could get that epidural and be completely disconnected from the birth experience but then that would not be giving baby the best birth possible.  Life is already difficult enough as it is, so the best thing that we can do for our children is give them the best head start on that life as we can.  Adequate prenatal nutrition and a natural drug free pregnancy and birth and breastfeeding are three ways that we can do exactly that.  It may be a lot of hard work and, at times, uncomfortable and downright painful but anything that is actually worth doing is never easy, and isn’t it all worth it to provide your baby with the best start possible?

For “meat eaters”

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete but only one receives the prize? So run your race that you may lay hold of the prize and make it yours.

Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither but we do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness that cannot wither.

Therefore I do not run uncertainly and without definite aim. I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary.

But, like a boxer, I buffet my body; I handle it roughly, discipline it while going through hardships and subdue it out of fear that after proclaiming the gospel and things pertaining to it that I myself shall be found unfit, not able to withstand the test, unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit.

For I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren that our forefathers were all under and protected by the cloud, in which God’s presence went before them, and every one of them passed safely through the Red Sea. (Exodus 13:21; 14:22, 29)

And each one of them allowed himself also to be baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea and were thus brought under obligation to the Law, to Moses, and to the Covenant, consecrated and set apart unto the service of God.

And all of them ate the same supernaturally given food. (Exodus 16:4, 35)

And they all drank the same supernaturally given drink. (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11) They drank from a spiritual rock produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality and that Rock is Christ.

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with a great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along the ground in the wilderness. (Numbers 14:29-30)

Now these things are given as examples, warnings and admonitions for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did. (Numbers 11:4, 34)

Do not be worshipers of false gods as some of them were, as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink the sacrifices offered to the golden calf at Horeb and rose to sport, to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity. (Exodus 32:4, 6)

We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in fornication and immorality, as some of them did, and twenty three thousand suddenly fell dead in a single day! (Numbers 25:1-18)

We should not tempt the Lord, try his patience, become a trial to him, critically appraise him and exploit his goodness, as some of them did, and were killed by poisonous serpents. (Numbers 21:5, 6)

Nor discontentedly complain, as some of them did, and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death). (Numbers 16:41, 49)

Now these things befell them by way of a figure, as an example and warning to us; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax.

Therefore, let anyone who things he stands, who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm, take heed lest he fall.

For no temptation or trial, no matter how it comes or where it leads, has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to all mankind.

No temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear. But God is faithful to his word and his compassionate nature and he can be trusted not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation or trial he will always also provide the way out that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun, keep clear away from and avoid by flight if need be, any sort of idolatry.

I am speaking as to intelligent and sensible men. Think over and make up your minds for yourselves about what I say. I appeal to your reason and your discernment in these matters.

The cup of the blessing of wine at the Lord’s supper, upon which we ask God’s blessing, does it not mean that in drinking it we participate in and share a fellowship in the blood of Christ the Messiah?

The bread, which we break, does it not mean that in eating we participate in and share fellowship in the body of Christ the Messiah?

For we, no matter how numerous we are, are one body because we all partake of the One Bread.

Now consider those people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners with the altar and united in their worship of the same God? (Leviticus 7:6)

What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is intrinsically changed by the fact and amounts to anything or that an idol itself is a living thing?

No, I am suggesting that what the pagans do and sacrifice they offer, in effect, to demons and not to God at all and I do not want you to fellowship and be partners with diabolical spirits. (Deuteronomy 32:17)

You cannot drink the Lord’s cup and the demon’s cup. You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the demon’s table.

Shall we thus provoke the Lord to jealousy and anger and indignation? Are we stronger than he that we should defy him?

All things are legitimate, permissible, and we are free to do anything we please. But, not all things are helpful, expedient, profitable and wholesome. All things are legitimate but not all things are constructive to character and edifying to spiritual life.”

-1 Corinthians 9:24-10:23 Amplified Version

At the beginning of this passage Paul relates the spiritual life to the running of a race, he uses the example of an olympic athlete who trains and restricts himself with severity in order to discipline his body and win the prize, a garland wreath, in the olympic games.  This was the perfect symbolic image to use for the Corinthians since Corinth was located in Greece where the olympic games began and were held in ancient times, athletic training was something that the Corinthians well understood.

He tells them this for he does not want them to be ignorant of the truth, using ancient Israel and their exodous from Egypt as a further example, of how, even though Israel was selected and chosen as “God’s People” even they, with ALL that God had done for them, did not take him seriously at his word.  They acted as lazy, whining, complaining, undisdiplined children – the complete opposite of an athlete who trains to WIN, the Israelites backtracked on God over and over and over again and God disciplined them for it!  In much the same way that a farmer or gardener goes into the field plucking out all the weeds that suck the life from the good plants, so to did God “pluck out the weeds” from amongst Israel…killing 23,000 in one day, 14,000 on a different occassion…

Paul says that this historical recounting of Israel’s time spent in the wilderness is given to us as an example and a warning to not fall into the same snare.  That we should take our spiritual journey and relationship with God as seriously as an olympic athlete takes his training.  We can further see this same idea when he admonishes Timothy to “Fight the good fight (like a boxer!) of faith, lay hold (like a wrestler!) on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” -1 Timothy 6:12

Throughout scripture he has often used similar examples to illustrate the same idea:

1.  That of growing up from a newborn babe on milk to a full grown meat eating man – “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able…” “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” -1 Corinthians 3:2; 13:11

2.  That of being a soldier – “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. -2 Timothy 2:3-5

The Amplified Version says: “Take, along with me, your share of the hardships and suffering which you are called to endure as a good first-class soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of civilian life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.  And if anyone enters competitive games, he is not crowned unless he competes lawfully and fairly, according to the rules laid down.”  …why else do you think he tells us to “put on the WHOLE ARMOR of God”?  He is presupposing that you are already a soldier, with the mentality of a soldier, engaged in (spiritual) warfare to endure hardships and horrors for the sake of him who has enlisted you…for it is soldiers, not civilians, who typically wear armor.

And no proper soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of civilian life for, as Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” -Matthew 6:24.  A soldier is trained to wholly give up himself to the work and and in service; ready to part with all worldly enjoyments and suffer the loss of all things, when called to do it, for the sake of the one who leads him.  The person who professes to be a Christian is not here on this planet to be a people pleaser, nor to please himself, by seeking his own ease and rest, his worldly paycheck and insurance, his “scooby snack” and pat on the back, but to please the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose book his name is written.  This is the mentality of a soldier and in our modern day “christian” church it is exhibited by few and far between.

After discussing Israel’s failures, their succumbing to trials and temptations in the wilderness, Paul gives us assurance that we need not be like the Israelites, that God will never give us more than we can bear but that we must bear up under it patiently with full strength of resistance and power to endure.  Like the athlete who buffets his body, I love that word “buffet” (and Paul is NOT talking about food here!)…it means to strike repeatedly, to strive with or contend against, to make one’s way through with blows (punches) and struggling.  Struggle against the body, against the flesh, handle it roughly allowing it no mercy and subdue it, bring it under subjection to The Spirit Man, The New Creature in Christ.  For, if you do not, just as the Israelites in the wilderness, you will very quickly return to your old ways.

Chief among these “old ways” to which they returned, Paul lists first their pagan idolatry and, most specifically their mixing of the two, as being especially heinous.  Israel’s continuing to propagate and participate in pagan traditions, feasts, and rituals while at the same time professing to be God’s People.  This is devilish evil in his sight and the same practice continues today in so-called “christianity” with their propagation and participation in pagan traditions that they use to “worship” God on what they declare are his most holy of days: Christmas and Easter…when, in reality, these days and these traditions proceed Christ by a couple THOUSAND of years (at least!) and have nothing AT ALL to do with holiness or proper worship of him.  Just do a quick google search on “the pagan traditions of christmas” or “the pagan traditions of easter” or better yet, do a search on youtube, there are a lot of good videos there.  If you do not wish to learn more then you can stop reading right here, otherwise you’re just wasting your time.

At best, most christians have been decieved.  As dear children who understand as a child and think as a child, in only the most simplest of ways, deceived into believing that what they do is good and pleasing in God’s sight.  Just like the toddler who gifts his mother with a booger or a worm, she can appreciate the act and accept it with grace because she understands the love in his heart, even if the gift itself is gross in her sight.

Likewise, God understands our hearts and the love we have for him, he knows us inside and out and does not reject our gifts of boogers and worms.  But, eventually children grow up and they become adults.  And, try as you might, you cannot stay a “spiritual baby” in mama’s lap suckling at her breast forever, that is not the natural way of things and this isn’t Neverland, at some point you have to grow up!  If the adult son gifted his mother with boogers and worms she would likely be angry and throw the gifts back in his face (I know I would!), this would be an insult to her because she knows that her son’s understanding has deepened, that he has matured and “knows better” than to give his mom boogers and worms.

Likewise, it is the same with God, our Eternal Parent.  There comes a time where it is expected that we grow up and start acting like spiritual adults who “put away childish things” like the pagan traditions (our gifts of boogers and worms) that we, in our former childish ignorance, thought right to worship God with.

This all goes back to the beginning of the passage where Paul likens the christian walk to an athlete training to win a race.  An athlete’s lifestyle, if he wishes to be at all competitive, is quite rigid and severe with a specific diet and specific times of training for a specific amount of time doing very specific exercises, along with getting enough sleep so that his body might recharge and become stronger.  The way that he lives his life is very different from that of the average couch potato.  The same can be said of the soldier who undergoes rigorous training in boot camp and must be established in the ways of survival and how to kill the enemy so that he may endure the hardships and dangers of the battlefield.  His life is very drastically different than the life of a civilian.  And quite naturally much more is expected of the adult than of the child, but at the same time much more freedom is given as well.

Twice throughout 1 Corinthians Paul says this, almost word for word both times:

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient : all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”  – 1 Corinthians 6:12

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient : all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23

Twice in the same book he tells us this, for it really isn’t about “right vs. wrong” or going to hell.   No, once you reach a certain point of christian maturity it becomes all about The Mission, The Goal, The Purpose…the “what” that he has you here to complete, as different for each christian as there are individual christians with differing talents and strengths and weaknesses.  And what is most conducive to accomplishing the “what” vs. the things that are just a complete waste of time (and I don’t as much view christmas or easter as being evil per se as much as I view them as just being a complete and utter waste of time and energy for no real discernible purpose) and not edifying AT ALL to The Mission, The Goal, The Purpose that he has for you.  Only you can make this decision.

Late Pregnancy Protocol

3stagespregnancy

WARNING: I’m about to reveal my inner midwife!  This post contains very frank, blunt, and to the point advice concerning pregnancy, sex, and the inner workings of the female body.  If that type of stuff offends you: DO NOT READ THIS.  And please do not bitch about it in the comments section. Thank You. :)

I am not a doctor, just a woman who loves being a woman and all that makes women unique and different from men.   First and foremost is a woman’s ability to carry and grow a new life within her and, when the time is right, allow that new life safe passage into this world.  I have given birth to 5 children and am currently 35 weeks pregnant with child #6, ALL of them have been natural un-medicated pregnancies and deliveries, and nothing in this world has grown me and transformed me more as a person than childbirth has.

This post will be mostly about late pregnancy, especially the last 30 days of pregnancy leading up to the estimated date of delivery.

I have noticed an interesting thing over the almost 12 years since my first birth and that is the many many women who go well past their due dates especially in first time pregnancies.  And not only going well past their due dates but giving birth to freakishly large babies as well, mostly due to the extra long time baby spent in “incubation”.  I postulate that this occurs for three main reasons:

1.  Not enough fat in the diet.  Hormones are responsible for initiating labor and keeping it going, the body makes hormones from fat and cholesterol (especially saturated fat, but stay FAR FAR away from trans-fats aka “Partially hydrogenated oils” -usually soybean oil which is also GMO- and the unhealthy foods containing them.. the cakes, the cookies, the crackers etc. etc.. just because they have lotsa fat doesn’t mean they are a legitimate source that your body can adequately utilize, grain products also abnormally “fatten up” babies..and the momma!  Stick with mostly meats, eggs, and raw/fermented dairy products for the good healthy fats.) But most women are afraid of fat for fear of  getting fat, especially in late pregnancy when they are already feeling ungainly and cumbersome.  Oftentimes the body wants to go into labor but there just isn’t enough fat in the diet, especially certain fatty acids, from which the body can manufacture the large amounts of hormones that are needed to initiate labor and so the women goes over her due date.

2.  Not enough sex.  Sex got the baby in there and sex can help get it out!  Regular sex in late pregnancy can go a long long ways towards make sure that baby comes out in a timely manner. Orgasm releases the hormone called oxytocin (stimulation of the nipples also releases oxytocin) which is one of the main hormones that is responsible for initiating labor.  Not to mention the fact that semen contains certain hormonal precursors that cause the cervix to ripen and soften allowing quicker and fuller descent of the baby’s head into the pelvis (this has an even stronger effect when semen is ingested btw).  Sex and birth are waaaay more inter-related than most people realize, just because you’re feeling huge and unlovely in so late pregnancy don’t let that sway you from regular relations with your husband or significant other, not only will it increase your odds of an on time delivery but is beneficial all around for maintaining a happy relationship during a time of life that can be pretty stressful.

3.  Not enough activity.  Let’s face it, we live in a sedentary society and unless you make a concerted effort to move.your.body. it just ain’t going to happen in most people’s day to day living experiences.  Birth is a VERY physical activity and in order for it to proceed happily and unhindered the body requires a certain level of physical fitness.  This doesn’t mean you need to be able to run a marathon or become a power lifter, it just means that you need to be on.your.feet. UP! and walking around for the majority of your waking hours.  Through the help of gravity, walking around helps baby get lower and lower into your pelvis and this increased pressure on your pelvic floor is one of the ways in which your body is “signaled” that baby is mature enough (weighs enough) to be born.

As I have said before in a previous post (this one right here) I have been eating a diet higher in protein and fat, higher than what most women eat in our society, since I was 18 years old.  I got married 1 month after my 19th birthday and got pregnant with my first child 1 month later.  During that whole pregnancy I worked at McDonald’s and got plenty of activity from my job, I also had a small garden that I worked in on a regular basis.  Following a 24 hour natural unmedicated labor, I gave birth to my first child 1 day before his due date and he weighed 7 lb. 1 oz.

It was during my second pregnancy, however, that I became HEAVILY interested in pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and ALL THINGS midwifery related.  I read many many books on the subject, both physical books and much online, during that pregnancy is when I developed my nutritional protocol for pregnancy (this one right here) as well as this late pregnancy protocol which I shall soon share with you.  My second son was born 10 days before his due date and weighed 8lb. 4 oz.  Also, the amniotic sac remained intact throughout the whole labor up until I pushed his head out and then it broke open.

My third son was born 1 day early weighing 7 lb. 2 oz…. my fourth child (my first daughter) was also born 1 day early weighing 8 lb. exactly…and my fifth child, fourth son, was born 1 week early weighing 6lb. 7 oz. …small he was yes, but perfectly healthy!  For ALL of those pregnancies I followed my nutritional protocol as well the late pregnancy protocol.  I share all of this to show that I practice what I preach, that I am not just making up something from nothing.  I research and try things and I share the things that work for me in hopes that those things might help others.

Beginning 30 days before my due date I start taking these supplements:

1.  Borage seed oil capsules standardized to 300 mg GLA, 1300 mg (Gamma linolenic acid)  take 1 daily.  This is used by the body to make prostaglandins (a type of hormonal precursor) which is then used to make the hormones to initiate labor.  This DOES NOT induce labor, it simply gives your body the necessary building blocks to make the labor hormones once the body deems that the time is right.

2.  Natural Vitamin E  (look at the label, you want d-alpha tocopheryl, synthetic vitamin E is labelled “dL-alpha tocopheryl” and we don’t want that.)  400 i.u.’s daily.  This helps with circulation, helping the baby get more oxygen from the blood and preventing varicose veins in momma, along with increasing fatty acid assimilation.

3.  Vitamin C, 500 mg daily, this helps the bag of water stay intact and strong.  Don’t want premature rupture of membranes and stalled labor before baby is ready to come out!

And the newest thing I added, I started taking them on October 1st of this year, is Alfalfa tablets (1,000 mg tablets) and I take anywheres from 8-16 a day!  They are AWESOME and give me loads of energy, they also seem to reduce the heartburn and constipation that can especially become a problem during the last trimester of pregnancy.  I’ve had great results so far and highly recommend them!

Many of pregnancy’s discomforts are alleviated by the use of alfalfa tablets, including morning sickness, heartburn, constipation and anemia. Alfalfa tablets raise the vitamin K level of pregnant women, reducing postpartum bleeding in both quantity and duration, and they increase the vitamin K stores in newborns, reducing bleeding problems for them as well. They support success in lactation because they help increase and sustain milk supply. They frequently help alleviate nausea, almost always relieve constipation, and they bring up red blood counts in a beneficial way. They also seem to help reduce swelling and improve erratic blood sugar levels.

Because alfalfa tablets are very high in vitamin K, they could be dangerous to take for anyone who needs to be on blood thinners such as Heparin. Their use should be stopped temporarily if one gets a urinary tract infection and cut back, at least temporarily, if one gets diarrhea.

People who have very poor bowel flora may have temporary bouts of gas the first week or so when they start taking them, so they should start at a more gradual pace. I have postpartum moms take a few right after the birth to help with blood loss and bowel movements, then not take any more until the fourth or fifth postpartum day, gradually building back up to about four to eight a day depending on diet and need. They can use oat bran tablets if they need to for bowel function in the meantime. The reason for this course is twofold: the degree to which alfalfa promotes lactation can be too much for comfort until engorgement subsides, and newborn jaundice takes longer to go away if the mom is taking alfalfa tablets.

Excerpted from “The Amazing Alfalfa,” by Lisa Goldstein, CPM, CNM; in Birth Wisdom: Tricks of the Trade Vol III (a Midwifery Today book)

Here are links to the products I usually buy, all of them from Amazon Prime:

Alfalfa Tablets

Vitamin C

Natural Vitamin E

Borage Seed Oil Capsules

Interim Heating and Pumpkin Processing

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Beautiful “Connecticut Field” and “Fairytale” pumpkins (a classic french heirloom pumpkin aka Musque De Provence) in my kitchen awaiting processing. They make as good decorations as they do good food! :D

No frost yet, we have been very very lucky thus far!

Two close calls, one on October 4th where we hit a low of about 32F but it was a windy cloudy night so no frost fell…our other close call was just the other night on October 19th when we hit a low of about 34F.  Our average first frost date is October 15th so right now we are living are borrowed time…and looking at the forecast it appears that there is no chance of frost for at least the next week or so…good for the pumpkins in the garden that are still ripening on the vine and good for the heating bill!

We don’t heat the house in October if we can help it, we haven’t heated the house in October for the past three years. Every year I view it as a challenge to the body and the psyche, weaning myself of summer’s heat according to nature’s calendar, allowing myself to feel the chill and letting my body adapt.

Most people, in America at least, thanks to electric heating and air conditioning spend the majority of their lives at a comfortable 72F, but this weakens the body and what do you do when there is no electricity?  It’s yet just one more way in which to feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable in an extreme situation when, with just a little willingness to allow uncomfort onto ourselves as the situation naturally arises in our day to day living, we can become better acclimated to a wider range of temperatures.

Just three years ago, I was one of those women who got easily cold and huddled under a blanket shivering and sipping hot tea or coffee the very moment the ambient indoor temperature dropped below 70F :lol: . My husband, however, is the exact opposite, he hates heat as much as I hate cold and the moment the temperature starts to get above 76F he’s wiping his brow and moaning about the heat.. soooo we made a mutual pact to help each other adapt…he stopped using AC in the summer and I agreed to run the heat for only five months of the year (November-March) it used to be six and sometimes even seven months out of the year, and considering that he harvests the majority of the wood that we heat the house with it is a HUGE help to him!

Now, three years later, I don’t even feel cold until the temperature gets down to around 60-62F and I sleep quite comfortably with nighttime temperatures in the low 50’s as long as I have my trusty wool blanket :D  When the temperature drops we don’t light a fire in the woodstove or turn on a heater, instead we wear extra clothes (pants combined with a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt under a fleece hoodie with socks and house slippers is all I need to feel warm, same goes for the kiddos too) and we keep all the blinds and curtains open to let in as much sun as possible and we roast all the tasty pretty pumpkins that we grew in the garden over the summer and fall!

The residual heat radiating from the oven during the pumpkin roasting keeps the house at around 64-68F during the day depending on how warm it is outside.  And then I use the tasty pumpkin puree to make everything from pumpkin pie to pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup and even pumpkin lasagna..also not forgetting to mention my newest recipe for Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream! (just do a quick search on your favorite search engine for “pumpkin recipes” there are many to choose from!)

Most of the sweet treats, like cookies and bread, I put in the freezer to use over the course of the winter for entertaining, like around Thanksgiving, or to give as a gift.  If I have too much pumpkin I also can it in cubes which requires a long duration of processing in a pressure canner, further helping to warm the house. (for a good article on pressure canning pumpkin, click here)

Pumpkin roasting is extremely easy! You just take your pumpkin, cut around the stem and pull it out and then cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy messiness (I feed all of that to the chickens, they love the seeds) rub it with a bit of olive oil on the inside and set cut-side down in your roasting pan, add a couple tablespoons of water and pop into a 350F oven for about an hour.  When the flesh is soft and easily separates from the skin of the pumpkin, remove from oven and let cool, scoop out flesh and puree in a blender or food processor (I feed the pumpkin skins to the chickens of course) …if you absolutely need to then add a bit of extra water to get it to process smoothly, but seriously try not to do so unless it is absolutely necessary…in my opinion, it keeps and cooks up so much better without the extra water!

Doing all of this feeds us well and cheaply and heats the house at the same time, all in all a win-win situation if you ask me :D

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin in the middle and Connecticut Field Pumpkins on either side

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin in the middle and Connecticut Field Pumpkins on either side

I have these three gorgeous pumpkins just sitting on my counter begging to be used for something. Over the weekend we had guests visiting and I had it in my head to make a pumpkin pie for them but summer returned with a vengeance here with highs in the mid 80’s when in July our highs were only reaching the low 70’s (and sometimes only in the high 60’s) on most days and that completely took away any desire for pumpkin pie. So, instead, I got my creative juices flowing and devised this pumpkin pie “ice cream” using coconut milk (since our goats are not in milk right now, otherwise I’d have used their milk and cream..) and egg yolks as the base and it turned out so good that I’ve made five batches in the past week and all of our guests loved it :)

processing the winter luxury pie pumpkin

processing the winter luxury pie pumpkin

All you need do is whisk together in a bowl:

1 cup pumpkin puree (I roasted a homegrown “Winter Luxury” pie pumpkin, scooped out the flesh and pureed it in the food processor)

1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk, preferably organic, we buy this in bulk from Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save

5 egg yolks, I used yolks from our hens eggs of course :D

1/2 cup raw sugar, preferably rapadura but demerara will do

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger (this may seem like a lot but I LOVE GINGER!)

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. hazelnut extract (totally optional, but I LOVE the taste of hazelnut with pumpkin :D )

Dump the mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to your maker’s instructions. Serve at once!

my ice cream maker, birthday gift from last year

my ice cream maker, birthday gift from last year

churn churn churn

churn churn churn

the finished product :D

the finished product :D

How I Start A New Garden

For every year of my married adult life my husband and I have had a garden.  Even when we first got married and lived in an apartment, we still had a garden.  I have started many new gardens in my lifetime and hope to start many many more!  The first thing I always do is wait for a nice soaking 24+ hour rain.  We recently had one of these kinds of rains here just two days ago, so I took the opportunity to dig out a new section for our garden and planted rutabagas, turnips, spinach and kale for a fall harvest.

The area had been previously overrun with massive weeds, but the nice soaking rain loosened up all their roots and so pulling them out was a cinch!  This is why you wait for a nice soaking rain :D

in the process of pulling out very tall weeds by hand (btw in the back left corner you can see my husband working in another section of the garden)

in the process of pulling out very tall weeds by hand (btw in the back left corner you can see my husband working in another section of the garden…we often garden together *grin*)

You can see exactly in the picture just how tall the weeds were.  To pull them out you simply don some sturdy leather work gloves, grab the plant very firmly at the base as close to the ground as possible and pull…as long as the ground is wet enough 80% of the weeds should come out with very little to slightly moderate effort.  With the other 20% of the weeds, you’ll get the plant but the roots will get left behind..no biggie, they’ll get dug out later on..the main goal right now is simply to clear the spot of weeds.

all clear :)

all clear :)

Once the spot is mostly cleared of weeds, grab a shovel and start digging :D  My most favorite shovel is the Kobalt “Excavator”, at least that is what it was called when we bought two of them nearly ten years ago, now they’re called “Kobalt short-handle fiberglass digging shovel“.  Why a shovel?  you might ask, Why not a tiller?  Well, there are three main reasons why I prefer a shovel 1.)  They don’t make any noise.  Gasoline powered tillers are obnoxiously LOUD, which is annoying and turns the pleasant task of garden work into a drudgery simply to be tolerated.  2.)  Shovels don’t stink!  Gasoline powered tillers stink!  They stink BAD!  3.)  Shovels don’t require gasoline.  Other than the initial upfront cost and the price of a metal file for the occasional sharpening, as long as you clean it after every use and keep it stored away in a dry place, the shovel will last for many many years without any further money or time lost in maintenance.  Like I said before we’ve had ours for nearly ten years, they are 25 bucks each, so for only 50 bucks we have been using the same shovels to garden for going on ten years now…that’s 5 bucks a year in money spent so far.  Save the gasoline for the chainsaw! :lol:

Another thing that most people don’t ever consider: Digging makes you STRONG!   -and that’s a good thing!  Not only will you save money over using a tiller and paying for gasoline and maintenance for that tiller, but you will also reap the many physical benefits of digging with a shovel.  No need to jump up and down in front of your TV or pay someone to let you walk in place on their machine in a room that smells like sweat filled with other people who are all doing the same exact thing…like some sorta hamster wheel for humans, NO THANK YOU!  Why do any of that shit when you can just grow a garden??  You get the benefits of the physical labor as well as the nutritional benefits of all the tasty fruits and veggies you will eat.  Sounds like a win-win situation if you ask me :D

freshly dug

freshly dug

Digging is very simple, anyone of average and even less than average physical fitness can do so.  Those of less than average physical fitness may have to go it slowly and not be able to dig much at first, but if you discipline yourself and keep on going you WILL get stronger and be able to dig more and more…after all, you have to start somewhere, and I can think of no better way to get fit than growing your own food!

The way I dig, I just jab my shovel into the ground, stand on the flattened steel part with one foot (sometimes both feet) and push the shovel using my weight and lower body strength as deeply into the ground as it will go.  Then, with my knees slightly bent, lifting with my legs and NOT my back (so important!) I flip the “clod” of dirt upside down so that what was the top of the ground is now at the bottom of the hole and the bottom of the “clod” is now the new surface of the soil.  Then I take my shovel and stab at the clod repeatedly until it is all broken up and pushed down into the hole, removing any roots, sticks, rocks etc. that I may find as I break up the clod.  Any weeds that were left are now at the bottom of a 10-12 inch deep hole covered by a new layer of dirt, once you plant your seeds by the time the roots get down that far the weeds will have long decomposed and added nutritional benefit to the soil.  This works when it’s only a few weeds, but not with many, so don’t think you can take the easy way out and skip the weed pulling part before you dig…it will not work :P

The plot in the pictures is about 10′ x 15′ and only took me about 90 minutes from weeding to a freshly dug plot, and that’s for a nearly 6 month pregnant woman who had to take many pee breaks! lol  And look, if a nearly 6 month pregnant woman can do it, then so can you :D

My (Current) Favorite Meal

This is my take on a traditional Chili Rellenos using homegrown peppers :)

First, I make the refried beans.  Take 2 cups of pinto beans (we buy organic in 25 lb. bags for $1.50/lb.) and soak in a warm place for 12 hours, drain and rinse and let sprout for 12-24 hours.  Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and other “anti-nutrients” that are inherent to ALL seeds and act as a protective mechanism for the seed, once sprouted it is no longer a bean but now a plant.  This is what pinto beans look like after sprouting:

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Then cook the beans just like any other bean, boil in water till soft then drain really well and set aside or store in fridge until ready to make the refried beans.  To make the refried beans, chop 1 medium-large onion very finely and mince a couple of cloves of garlic.  Fry them in butter, bacon grease, or coconut oil or some combination thereof, over low heat until very soft and carmelized.  Turn up the heat to medium-high, add more fat and then add your cooked sprouted pinto beans, mashing with a potato masher and frying until all the fat is absorbed, keep adding the fat as you fry until it is nice and creamy…if it seems dry you haven’t added enough fat!!  Season liberally with salt and pepper… Here is the finished product:

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Next, you cook your rice.  We like organic brown basmati rice that we buy in 25 pound bags just like the pinto beans.  Soak the rice for about 12 hours, rice doesn’t sprout very well in my experience but as long as you put it in a warm place and plenty of scummy bubbles form (a sign that germination has occurred) it should be fine for eatin’.  I most often cook my rice in homemade homegrown chicken broth.  About 3 cups soaked rice to 6 cups chicken broth cooked very very very slowly over very very very low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Turn off heat, let sit covered for about 10 minutes then fluff with a fork and add butter and salt and pepper.  This is a basic brown rice that I make at least once a week and keep on hand in the fridge for quick meals.

Now that the refried beans and rice are ready, brown some ground beef, in this case I used grassfed ground beef :)

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Then cut some cold cream cheese into “sticks”.  I have also made this dish in the past using goat cheese made from our goat’s milk, but since my goats aren’t in milk right the cream cheese will have to do :)

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Then stuff your cream cheese and then the ground beef into your peppers.  In this case I used mildly spicy dark green “Biggie” chili and light green “Hungarian Budapest” peppers from the garden…you can use ANY type of pepper!

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Cover your pan full of stuffed peppers with aluminum foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until peppers are soft, you’ll know when the peppers are close to done as their enticing aroma fills the whole house with deliciousness!  Then take pan out of oven, lift up foil and top the peppers with cooked brown rice and shredded cheese, cover with foil and put back in oven for a few more minutes until rice is heated through and cheese is melted.

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Serve up the finished product with the refried beans on the side and top with sour cream and salsa and/or hot sauce or do like me and replace the rice with a couple of nitrate/nitrite free all beef hot dogs!  Either way, it’s DAMN GOOD :D

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